Politics this week
Gun laws after Sandy Hook
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 1, 2013 00:03
On December 14, 2012, a 20-year-old gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and murdered 27 people, including 21 first grade students. He then turned his mother’s semi-automatic rifle on himself.
This shooting, the deadliest in America since the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007, received extensive media coverage and nationwide grieving—and made gun violence a major topic of discussion among the nation’s lawmakers.
President Obama held a press conference to announce a plan to “take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.” About a month later, he introduced 23 executive powers, including a ban on assault weapons, universal background checks for gun buyers, and limits to magazine capacity.
In the Senate, several Democrats have called for a renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which President George W. Bush allowed to expire in 2004.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, herself a victim of a mass shooting in 2011, has also been a vocal proponent of stricter gun laws.
Most recently, Senator Patrick Leahy has introduced a number of gun reform proposals, which could reach the floor of the Senate next week.
However, none of these plans or calls for action have passed into law due to a large opposition to gun reform in America.
The National Rifle Association has spearheaded the central resistance to any gun control proposals. NRA’s spokesman Wayne LaPierre called for the federal government to place armed guards at every school. Many Republicans and moderate Democrats have stressed the effects of violence in the media on children.
Opposition to gun reforms, however, has remained rooted in a support for the Second Amendment of the Constitution, long a rallying cry among conservative Republicans and Tea Party affiliates. In fact, gun sales and permit applications have increased significantly since the Newtown shooting, in anticipation of new gun regulations.
Once the a deal is reached between the President and Congress to avoid looming federal budget cuts, lawmakers in the nation’s capitol can turn their attention back to passing gun reforms.
Although a ban on assault weapons is unlikely, look for bipartisan legislation to be passed on universal background checks for gun owners. This is a place the two parties will be able to come together, and hopefully make our country a safer place.